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Educators Programs in Australia

Exploring Australia

Australia is a perfect place for people with an adventurous spirit. Its picturesque coastlines, rich wildlife and plentiful natural wonders provide the ideal backdrop for a unique travel experience. On top of that, it’s easy to connect with the locals with a friendly “g’day.”

Rustic Pathways has a special connection with Australia since it’s where the company was launched. We started by providing programs in the Outback for teens. Today there are many other student excursions available in the country.

Country Basics

Australia is slightly smaller than the mainland of the United States. However, the population is much smaller with nearly 25.7 million people. About 90% of the people live on the coastlines of the country. Offland are the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans. The Great Barrier Reef off the east coast is made up of nearly 3,000 individual reefs and is visible from space.

On the mainland, the country’s terrain is mostly low plateau with deserts throughout the interior and fertile plains in the southeast. Canberra in the southeast is the capital. It was chosen as a compromise between rival parties in Melbourne and Sydney.

The country is still a member of the British Commonwealth, but it ended its constitutional ties with Britain in 1986. European settlers first reached the continent in the early 1600s. Captain James Cook arrived more than a hundred and fifty years later and declared the east coast as being under British rule.

It’s believed the Aborigines living in Australia at the time migrated from Southeast Asia about 50,000 years beforehand. About a million Aborigines lived on the land when European settlers arrived.

In the late 1700s and mid-1800s the British sent more than 160,000 convicts to Australia since it used convicts to build colonies. In addition to their arrival, many adventurous British people went to Australia for cheap farmland and gold exploration.


Australia does not have an official language, but English is its national language. The country’s language breakdown in 2021 was:

English 72%, Mandarin 2.7%, Arabic 1.4%, Vietnamese 1.3%, Cantonese 1.2%, other 15.7%, unspecified 5.7%

You’ll find that Australia has some of its own distinct vocabulary in English. Here are some everyday phrases and words.

  • G’day: Quintessential Australian greeting
  • Mate: What you call everybody you meet, know, and like
  • Stoked!: When you’re very happy about something
  • Bloody: Another way to say “very” and add emphasis
  • Bloke: man/guy
  • Roo: kangaroo
  • Snags: sausages
  • She’ll be right: Everything will be fine
  • Pull your head in: Get your act together/do a better job
  • Fair dinkum: Genuine, true, authentic
  • Sticky beak: Nosey person
  • Aussies also love to shorten words, often ending them in “ie,” “y,” or “o”
  • Cuppa: Cup of tea
  • Boardies: Board shorts (swim trunks)
  • Barbie: Barbecue
  • Telly: Television
  • Arvo: Afternoon
  • Brekkie: Breakfast
  • Servo: Service station (gas station)
  • Rellies: Relatives
  • Esky: Water cooler (for drinks, ice, etc.)
  • Mozzie: Mosquito
  • Sunnies: Sunglasses
  • Social Norms & Expectations

Life in Australia is rather relaxed. You can expect to be greeted with an informal “G’day” or “G’day mate.” While on your program, the locals will expect you to be respectful of the environment and to speak politely. Just like in the United States you should say “please” and “thank you.”

Student travel_global impact

Food & Drink

Here are some foods you may experience in Australia:

  • Vegemite – a spread often used on sandwiches
  • Pavlova – meringue cake
  • Meat pie
  • Lamingtons – chocolate and coconut cake
  • Damper – soda bread
  • Emu
  • Iced vovo – Australian cookie
  • Dagwood dog – corn dog
  • Chiko roll – snack inspired by the egg roll
  • Crocodile
  • Grilled kangaroo
  • Barramundi (Asian Sea Bass)
  • Hamburger with beetroot


The local currency is the Australian Dollar (AUD). One AUD equals about 70 U.S. cents, depending on the exchange rate.


Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world. Only Antarctica is drier. 70% of Australia is either arid or semi-arid, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t rain in places like Sydney. June is the first winter month and the rainiest in Sydney, but overall the weather is rather pleasant. Here are the average weather conditions in Sydney from June – August.

June July August
High Temperature 62.6 F 61.3 F 64 F
Low Temperature 48.7 F 46.6 F 48.2 F
Average Daylight 10 hrs. 23 minutes 10 hrs. 8 minutes 10 hrs. 53 minutes
Average Rainfall 5.2 inches 3.82 inches 3.15 inches
Monthly Rainy Days 12.5 days 11.1 days 10.4 days


Here is a breakdown of religions in 2021 based on the CIA World Factbook:

Roman Catholic 20%, Protestant 18.1% (Anglican 9.8%, Uniting Church 2.6%, Presbyterian and Reformed 1.6%, Baptist 1.4%, Pentecostal 1%, other Protestant 1.7%), other Christian 3.5%,

Muslim 3.2%, Hindu 2.7%, Buddhist 2.4%, Orthodox 2.3% (Eastern Orthodox 2.1%, Oriental Orthodox 0.2%), other 2.1%, none 38.4%, unspecified 7.3%

Ethnic Groups

The Aborigines in Australia were part of 300 different hunter-gatherer tribes with 230 different languages. In the early to mid 1900s, Aboriginal children were separated from their families and taught western norms and traditions. During this time period, the number of Aborigines fell drastically but the numbers have climbed back up in recent decades.

Here is the 2021 breakdown of ethnic groups when Australians were given the option of reporting two ancestries:

English 33%, Australian 29.9%, Irish 9.5%, Scottish 8.6%, Chinese 5.5%, Italian 4.4%, German 4%, Indian 3.1%, Australian Aboriginal 2.9%, Greek 1.7%, unspecified 4.7%


One of the highlights of Australia is its wildlife. It’s estimated that about 80% of the flora and fauna in the country are unique to Australia. This includes about 28,500 species. Among them are koalas, wombats, wallabies, platypuses, emus, kookaburras and kangaroos.

Emus and kangaroos are featured in the official emblem on Australia’s coat of arms because they cannot walk backwards. They help symbolize the desire to keep moving forward.

Aside from endemic species, Australia has more than 150 million sheep, many multiples more than the population of people. Australia also has more than 6,000 species of flies, about 4,000 species of ants, and about 350 species of termites.

Australia’s most famous wildlife expert was Steve Irwin, nicknamed “The Crocodile Hunter.” Irwin achieved worldwide fame from the television series “The Crocodile Hunter,” but he considered conservation to be the most important part of his work.

Other Fun Facts About Australia

  • The longest fence in the world is in Australia. It runs for more than 5,530 kilometers and is designed to keep dingoes away from sheep pastures.
  • The world’s first international surfing competition was held in Sydney’s Manly Beach in 1964.
  • The city of Melbourne was originally named Batmania after its founder John Batman.
  • Perth has more cafés per capita than any other city in the world.
  • The Australian Alps receive more snow than Switzerland.
  • Australia is the only continent in the world without an active volcano.
  • An Australian man once tried to sell New Zealand on eBay. The price reached $3,000 before eBay took it down.
  • About 2.5 km of the famous Uluru rock formation is underground. It is so impressive it is listed twice as a UNESCO World Heritage site, both on the cultural and natural lists.

Uluru in Australia with Rustic Pathways

Rustic Pathways in Australia

7 Wonders of Australia: From the Famous to the Unexpected

When visiting Australia, many students see famous wonders like the Great Barrier Reef. But there are other wonders to view along the way.

Why Are There Camels in Australia?

When you think of camels you may envision the Sahara Desert. But there are a lot of camels in Australia , and the reason why is somewhat sad.

Koalas, Kangaroos and More: Learning about Animal Conservation in Australia

Students get hands-on lessons in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in this one-of-a-kind program in the Land Down Under.

A to Z: Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Australia
Get to know Australia with the ABCs’.


Movie: Chasing Coral
Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.

Great Barrier Reef (on the Back of a Sea Turtle!)
Stretching over 1,400 miles, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, it comprises more than 3,000 individual reefs, 600 islands and home to over 1,600 species of fish and 600 types of coral.

Video: What is Australian Football
Australian rules football, officially known as Australian football, or simply called “Aussie rules”, “football” or “footy”, is a contact sport played between two teams of 18 players on an oval field, often a modified cricket ground.


Australian Aboriginal Peoples
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the Indigenous people of Australia. They are comprise hundreds of distinct groups that have their own languages, histories and cultural traditions.

Article – A Brief Guide to the History of Australia
Australia is a diverse and fascinating country, with an Aboriginal population dating back many thousands of years. This very basic overview is our starting point for international students wanting to know more about the nation’s background.


Non-Fiction Book: In a Sunburned Country
One traveler’s experience in Australia, the country that doubles as a continent, and a place with the friendliest inhabitants, the hottest, driest weather, and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet.

The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia’s Founding
A non-fiction book on the birth of Australia which came out of the suffering and brutality of England’s infamous convict transportation system.


Vegemite: What It Is, Ways To Eat It And Why It’s So Good

A Taste of the Land Down Under: What to Expect When Dining in Australia
Learn about popular foods in Australia, dining etiquette, and options for people with food allergies or dietary restrictions.

Easy Pavlova Recipe
Pavlova is a cake-shaped meringue topped with whipped cream, kiwis, berries, or other summer fruits.

Try it Out

Video: Boomerang
How do they do it?